On November 12, 2015

Master Gardeners do “fair” amount of work

Dear Editor,

One of the articles recently, regarding the status of the Rutland State Fair, mentioned the “Master Gardens.” I think it is important for people to know that the Fair staff has nothing to do with maintenance, or even creation of the landscaping of the grounds, except to mow the lawn.

There is a group of dedicated local Master Gardeners who provide and plant all of the shrubs, and flowers you see at the Fairgrounds. They work year round to make this happen. Our purpose is to educate the public on the use and maintenance of local plants, especially native plants and how to make and use compost.

The Master Gardeners have a plant sale in the spring, to raise money to pay for the annual and perennial plants and shrubs for the Fairgrounds. They could not do this without the generosity of local nurseries and garden centers.

This dedicated group of Master Gardeners begin in the Spring to prepare the soil and start planting. They have created lovely gardens next to the Bergstrom Building, the Presidents Building, the Fair office, and all the walkways.

Hundreds of hours, and hundreds of dollars, are given by this group all throughout the growing season to weed, water, plant flowers and to trim. Many of these Master Gardeners have full time jobs, yet, find time on Saturdays and before and after work, and some travel great distances, all at their own expense.

Once the Fair begins, we are there every day to interact with fairgoers and to provide information as we maintain the Master Gardener display. Plants are labeled which helps the fairgoers identify their favorites. Vegetables and herbs are often included.

After the fair, gardens are prepared for winter. Annuals need to be cut back, removed, and plans made for the next year — and then we start all over again.

The Extension Service Master Gardeners volunteer their time at various projects at various locations. Meetings are held once a month. After the business meetings, there is  a speaker and program which is open to the public. Anyone interested in learning more about the Master Gardener certification/ class, or simply interested in growing things, is welcomed to attend the monthly meetings.

All the pathways, gardens and decorative landscaping at the fair happen due to this dedicated group of Master Gardeners. They serve all on their own time,and deserve a lot of recognition and credit.  It is not always easy when the weather doesn’t cooperate, or the local wood chuck is hungry!!

Thank you Jan Sherman, Patti Westburg, Ron Hebert, Thana McGary and many, many others for their time, their expertise and their dedication.

Elaine Nordmeyer, Hubbardton

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